Jess Glynne: I Cry When I Laugh

Posted September 29, 2015 by in Dance pop



4.5/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , ,
Genre: Pop, synthpop
Producer: Starsmith, Jack Patterson, Knox Brown, Clean Bandit, Steve Mac, Naughty Boy
Label: Atlantic
Format: Digitial download, compact disc
Time: 40:23
Release Date: 21 August 2015
Spin This: "Hold My Hand," "Rather Be," "Gave Me Something," "Take Me Home"


Near-perfect radio-ready tracks dominate the set


Last two tracks are pretty ho-hum; album feels shortchanged when compared with the UK edition

Debut disc from Clean Bandit hook singer shines bright like a diamond

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Debut disc from Clean Bandit hook singer shines bright like a diamond

Clean Bandit’s monster dance smash “Rather Be” ended up being the perfect match for Jess Glynne. It wound up winning a Grammy, went double platinum and topped a number of charts, even darting to number ten  on the Hot 100. She reunited with the English-based electro-dance unit on “Real Love” and had similar success. But the then-unknown singer had not an album to show for herself, only for being one heck of a hook singer. Her time is now with the arrival of I Cry When I Laugh, her first disc on Atlantic.

Coming out of the gate with the fierceness, “Hold My Hand” acts as a worthy follow-up to “Rather Be” since it sounds like it’s been culled from the same ingredients. Jack Patterson (of Clean Bandit) co-writes it and pours pouncing disco beats, the occasional horns and a booming gospel-tinged drive into the mix. Glynne’s voice is blessed with a youthful poise, and it snuggles around assuring lyrics of crossover faith (“Break my bones but you won’t see me fall/The rising tide will rise against them all”), but she has no shame in effortlessly belting like a victorious seagull. The marriage of the bountiful melody and Glynne’s performance on “Hold My Hand” gives the album the highest reward. It’s still a knockoff of “Rather Be,” but a very good one. If you’re hungry for more of the same, “No Rights, No Wrongs” makes a terrific destination.

I Cry When I Laugh isn’t short on hit-ready singles. Which means that it is virtually impossible to not like the disc. The Brit singer, who cites Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke and Amy Winehouse as musical influences, digs deep into the pop-perfect forumla that managed to put “Rather Be” on top. It’s a predictable and premeditated move, but one that will service her well in her ascension to radio domiantion. “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” tastes like CeCe Peniston dance punch spiked with a little Eurodisco vodka. “Gave Me Something” finds Glynne surrounded by a soulful chorus and an infectious hook reminiscent of ’90’s contemporary girl-group R&B. As the album paces onward into its second half, fervent songwriting and magical melodies prove to be endless. On “You Can Find Me,” track producer Starsmith sings alongside her, creating the fun and funk that would have been imagined on a Prince/Shelia E track.

When Glynne does slow things down, she finds peace with “Take Me Home,” a song coated with the gravitas of singer-songwriter glory and remnants of Beyonce’s “Halo.” The album near-to-the-end closer,” My Love,” renders an impassioned vocal on Steve Mac‘s warm acoustic-only accompinant.

With only eleven tracks on the American version of the disc (UK’s comes with fourteen), I Cry When I Laugh feels a bit incomplete. It does drop the unbreakable “Rather Be” and two other tracks, one being a highly-anticipated Emeli Sandé duet on board (“Saddest Vanilla”), on the back end. But only “Rather Be” deserves to be on the disc; the other two tracks are complete duds. And that’s probably the only upsetting display of gloom about Glynne’s offering. It’s too short and plays like it’s primary focus is to nab your attention and leave a thunderous impression. Once it does, Glynne leaves you hanging, like a rough quickie.

But she’s smart to play by the rules. She focuses on dropping good tracks, blessed with memorable hooks, glossy productions and believable vocals, even if feels like an EP. She’s done her job: I Cry When I Laugh — possibly the year’s finest pop record — will have Glynne getting the last laugh, all the way to the bank. There’s enough singles on here to keep her going for another year.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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